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Mental health center calls for justice for slain woman who lived there

Modesto Bee - 4/25/2017

April 25--The homicide victim whose body was found Friday morning in an alley in northwest Modesto had been reported missing shortly before 6:30 p.m. the day before from nearby Modesto Residential Living Center.

The partially clothed body of 41-year-old Jenny Wu was discovered about 9 a.m. by someone passing through the alley off the 1700 block of Evergreen Avenue near Carver Road. Her body was positioned between a utility box and a fence in the alley, about a quarter-mile from Modesto Residential Living, which is a facility for the mentally ill.

"The staff at Modesto Residential Living Center are deeply saddened for the devastating loss of this special human being," says a prepared statement issued Tuesday morning by Dennis Monterosso, administrator, and Lena Baldwin, facility manager. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wu family during this difficult time. ...

"We would also like to ask for the assistance of our community in bringing the person(s) responsible for this horrific crime to justice. We would encourage anyone with information regarding this case to please notify Modesto Police Department immediately."

The 96-bed Modesto Residential Living Center opened in November 2006 to serve what Monterosso called the "forgotten people."

Monterosso, a Modesto businessman and developer, told The Bee at the time that he built the center for people ages 18 to 59 because of a shortage of mental health residential facilities in Stanislaus County and the state.

Wu was not an area resident before entering the center, Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Heather Graves said. She was from the Bay Area.

When her body was discovered, detectives with the MPD violent crimes unit responded to the scene. No suspects have been identified and the cause of death has not been determined, Graves said.

This is the fourth suspicious death investigation detectives have been called in to investigate this month, but detectives do not believe any are related, Graves said. It is the fifth reported homicide being investigated by Modesto police since March 2.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters may also text information to Crime Stoppers at 274637 by typing "TIP704" with the message.

Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327


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